Most of North HempsteadMichelle Schimel, 55, a Great Neck Democrat, has served in the Assembly since 2007 with energy and passion, but without much effectiveness. She is best known for her effort to pass a micro-stamping law, a measure that would make it easier for police to trace firearms through cartridge casings. The bill has cleared the Assembly five times but has always been blocked in the Senate.

Her Republican challenger, Richard E. Stiek, 39, is a West Point graduate, a Port Washington lawyer and a political outsider distressed by property tax hikes and by what he sees as state and local fiscal irresponsibility.

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He's not someone the local party plucked from the ranks and handed their worn playbook. His thoughtful, often nuanced ideas set him apart on many subjects. He would have voted against teacher evaluations based on an "objective metric." He prefers evaluations done by educational experts.

Schimel's grasp of issues often seems anecdotal. Stiek is firmer and clearer on many subjects, and an original voice like his would be a powerful addition to a house in desperate need of new ideas.

Newsday endorses Stiek.